A lasting impression
While Borden-Carleton is like many Atlantic towns experiencing drastic population decline, it is unique in its assets and circumstances. The story of Borden-Carleton is told through its long history as the connection point between Prince Edward Island and the mainland. For almost a century, the town functioned as the main port creating an economy surrounding ferry service and export. The construction of the Confederation Bridge in 1997 as a fixed link was a significant turning point for the community, removing the necessity of the port and its local workforce. To make matters worse, the SCDI Fabrication Yards (a 150-acre infrastructural post-industrial landscape where the Confederation Bridge was constructed) were locked and set aside with the promise of future redevelopment. Today, the impacts of not planning for, or with, the existing community is told through a drastic decline of 13% of its population over the past two decades.
The planning process for Destination Borden-Carleton put the existing community as its top priority, driven by public engagement and involvement. Working collaboratively through community workshops, stakeholder interviews, and an oversight committee, Ekistics was able to understand the fascinating history of the place, while simultaneously completing an in-depth site assessment. When experiencing Borden-Carleton, it quickly becomes apparent that the town has all of the ingredients to become a successful tourism destination. The community has thousands of vehicles passing through daily, and unique assets and experiences that include the proximity to the Confederation Bridge, sandy beaches, extensive wetland marshes, beautiful sunsets, and the incredible, untapped potential of the Fabrication Yards Lands. The ultimate challenge was to convince the entire community that what they have always seen as a blight on their town, could be their most valuable asset moving into the future.
Destination Borden-Carleton is more than a tourism plan - it is a planning and spatial strategy for rural community growth and development. With tourism as the catalyst, an overall strategy is distilled into smaller and more attainable spatial plans and projects that will each independently contribute to fostering economic growth and community well-being. Each project feeds into the main goal of increasing employment opportunity through tourism attraction, while also creating places that contribute to the overall strength of the local community.
Borden-Carleton Development Corporation
Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island
Canadian Institute of Planners - Award for Planning Excellence, Rural/Small Town Planning
All images ©Ekistics Plan + Design